What Is an Inductor?

What Is an Inductor?

Congratulations on taking the first step to improve your workflow! An inductor is a key component of many electronic devices, and understanding how they work can help you get the most out of your gadgets. In this blog post, we’ll demystify inductors and explain how they can help you streamline your workflow. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is An Inductor Used For?

An inductor is primarily used in electronic circuits for filtering, tuning, and storing electrical energy. It helps limit the flow of current by creating a magnetic field when current passes through it. Filtering out unwanted frequencies from signals or suppressing transients are some of the main applications of an inductor in circuits. In radio circuits, inductors are commonly used as tuned circuits to select specific frequencies from a wide range of input frequencies. Inductors can also be used in voltage regulators and switching power supplies to store energy during periods when there is no input signal present.

What Is An Inductor Used For?

Finally, due to the fact that an inductor resists changes in current, they are sometimes employed in automatic motor starters as a safety device to protect against short-circuits and other overloads. Inductors are also used in physical computing applications such as robotics and automated control systems. In these applications, the inductor acts as a sensing element that can detect changes in current or magnetic fields. [1]

How Does An Inductor Work?

When exposed to an alternating current, an inductor acts as a magnetic energy source that can store power in the form of a field. By harnessing the power of magnetism, we can use magnetic energy to maintain a steady voltage level, build charging circuits, and block out any extraneous signals.

When a current passes through an inductor’s coils, a magnetic field is generated around it. As long as the current remains constant, this magnetic field will remain stable. However, if the current flowing through the coils begins to change (either increasing or decreasing), the inductor will oppose this change by creating a counter electromotive force (EMF). This effect works just like any other circuit element: for instance, if you increase the current going into an inductor, it will generate a counter EMF proportional to the rate of change.

This opposition to changes in current is called inductance, and it’s what makes an inductor so useful in electrical circuits. By creating this counter EMF, an inductor can serve as a filter or a regulator for alternating currents. In addition, when the current going into the coils decreases abruptly (due to a sudden drop in voltage), the magnetic field stored by the inductor will collapse and release its energy back into the circuit — thus providing a charging mechanism that helps keep other components powered. [2]

How Does An Inductor Work?

What Methods are Used to Secure Inductors on Circuit Boards?

Inductors can be attached to circuit boards in several ways. Through-hole inductors are typically soldered into the board, while surface-mount inductors are placed on the surface of the board and soldered through a process called reflow soldering. In this process, solder paste is applied to both the component and pads on the circuit board. The component is then placed onto the board and heated for a specific amount of time, causing the solder paste to melt and attach it firmly in place. This method is usually used with smaller components as it does not require manual soldering.

Another option is placing an inductor onto a printed circuit board via wires or pins that hold the component in place during soldering. It’s important to be sure that the inductor does not move during soldering, as this can lead to unreliable connections.

Inductors are an essential component in modern electronics and must be securely attached to circuit boards for optimal performance. Understanding how inductors are attached helps ensure that devices operate properly and safely. With the proper tools and knowledge, attaching an inductor onto a printed circuit board is a simple process that requires minimal effort. [3]

In What Applications Are Inductors Used?

Inductors are used in a wide range of applications, from simple circuits to complex machinery. Common examples include power supplies, signal processors, and motor controllers. In power supply applications, inductors help efficiently regulate the flow of electrical current. Inductors can also be used to filter out undesired frequencies in signal-processing systems such as radio receivers and audio amplifiers.

Finally, they are also employed in motor controllers to reduce harmonic distortion and improve efficiency. By controlling current flow, inductors allow machines to operate more efficiently while lasting longer due to reduced wear and tear on components. As technology continues to evolve, the use of inductors across various industries is likely to rise in the coming years.

In What Applications Are Inductors Used?

What Is A Choke?

A choke is a type of inductor that is specifically designed to block high-frequency signals while allowing low-frequency signals to pass. Chokes are commonly used in power supplies and radio circuits, where they provide additional filtering to reduce unwanted noise in the signal.

The amount by which the choke reduces high-frequency signals depends on its size and construction, but generally speaking, it can be an effective way of improving signal quality. The downside is that chokes can also reduce the overall signal strength, as well as providing some slight resistance to current flow. In order to achieve maximum benefit from their use, chokes must be carefully matched with other components within a circuit.

Choke coils consist of a coil of wire wrapped around a ferromagnetic core, which helps amplify the inductive properties of the coil and increases its efficiency. In high-frequency circuits, chokes are often constructed with ferrite cores rather than iron because their higher magnetic permeability minimizes losses. The use of ferrite also reduces size; however, the tradeoff is that it limits the maximum current that can be handled by a choke.

Choke coils are widely used in electronic circuits as they allow for a more efficient design compared to simpler capacitors. Without them, many of today’s complex electronic devices would not function properly. So whether you’re an electronics hobbyist or a professional technician, it pays to understand how inductors and chokes work in order to get the most out of your electronic devices. [4]

What Is A Choke?

How Can I Improve The Filtering Performance In A Circuit?

Filtering performance in a circuit can be improved by using inductors. Inductors are passive, two-terminal electrical components that store energy in the form of a magnetic field. They convert AC electric current into a changing magnetic field and then back into an AC electric current again. This process is known as “induction,” hence the name inductor.

When used in circuits, inductors act as filters to reduce noise, smooth out ripple currents, and block certain frequencies from passing through them.

By increasing the number of turns on the core of an inductor or adding additional capacitors and resistors to a circuit, it is possible to further improve filtering performance in your circuit. Additionally, selecting larger sized cores for your inductors will help to reduce core losses and increase the inductors’ effectiveness.

Finally, it is important to remember that inductors are not perfect filters, so it is important to keep an eye on your circuit for any potential distortions or overloading issues. Following these simple steps can help you get the best possible filtering performance from your circuits.

How Are Inductors Used In Power Converters?

Inductors are used in power converters to store and transfer electrical energy. The inductor’s coils create a magnetic field that stores the energy, which can later be released back into the circuit as needed. This allows for smooth and efficient delivery of electricity, making it an ideal component for use in power supply cables, electrical motors and other industrial applications.

By incorporating adaptive control techniques that help optimize its performance, inductors can also be configured to regulate the current output or voltage of a system. This makes them perfect for use in high-power applications like switching power supplies, LED lighting systems and more.

In addition to their practical uses, inductors also play an important role in some radio frequency (RF) circuits by providing inductance for impedance matching. This allows for better control over the signal strength of a transmission and helps reduce interference from other signals. [5]

How Are Inductors Used In Power Converters?

How Are Inductors Used In Tuned Circuits?

Inductors are essential components of circuits that require resonant frequency tuning. Tuned circuits are designed to allow only signals at a specific frequency to pass through, while blocking all other frequencies.

The most commonly used tuned circuit is the LC (inductor-capacitor) filter found in many electronic products such as radios and TVs. An inductor is connected in series with a capacitor resulting in an LC resonance which allows only signals within the predetermined frequency range to be transmitted.

This same principle can also be used in low-pass, high-pass, and band-stop filters where an inductor is used to tune the cutoff frequency of each respective filter type. Inductors also play a major role in oscillators where they help to generate, maintain and shape the output signal. Oscillators are used in a variety of devices ranging from wireless communication systems to musical instruments.

Types Of Inductors

Inductors are typically categorized by their structure and shape. Common types of inductors include air core, ferrite core, powdered iron core, toroidal/ring/cylindrical coil, as well as shielded and unshielded varieties.

Air core inductors contain no metal cores and consist of a coil wound around an insulating material like plastic or wax paper. These types of inductors have high resistances to DC currents but low resistance to AC current, making them suitable for radio frequency use.

Ferrite-core inductors are made from sintered magnets which can be found in various shapes including rods and rings. Ferrite-core inductors offer good electrical performance at both low frequencies and high frequencies.

Powdered iron core inductors are composed of powdered metal cores and a coil wound around them. These types of inductors offer good performance at low frequencies but can suffer from losses at high frequencies.

Toroidal/ring/cylindrical coil inductors consist of coils wound around metal rings or cylinders in the shape of a donut, tube, or box. The shape improves magnetic efficiency for frequencies up to several hundred kilohertz, making these types suitable for higher frequency applications.

Shielded and unshielded varieties refer to their construction – shielded inductors have an additional metallic layer that helps reduce noise due to external fields while unshielded versions do not have this protection mechanism in place. Shielded inductors are usually recommended for noise sensitive applications. [6]

Types Of Inductors

Inductance of a Coil

The inductance of a coil can be determined by the number of turns, the magnetic permeability of the core material, and its size. Inductance is measured in henries (H). A single turn of wire without any core material has an inductance of zero. When two or more turns are wound together on a core material having some magnetic permeability, then inductance is generated as the current flows through each successive turn.

The inductance increases with increased number of turns and increased permeability of the core material. Decreasing the diameter while maintaining constant length will also increase the inductance because this reduces leakage flux due to smaller cross-sectional area. Conversely, increasing the area will cause less flux to link resulting in decreased inductance.

The ratio between the inductance and length can be expressed as: L/l = a, where a is the rate of change in inductance per unit length. This is known as the coefficient of coupling (K) or coefficient of self-inductance. In other words, K represents how much flux links each turn relative to its neighbors. The higher this value, the more flux links each turn and thus a greater inductance overall.

Another important factor that affects an inductor’s performance is its Q factor or quality factor which is defined as the ratio between dissipated power (heat) and reactive power (magnetic energy storage). Higher Q factors indicate lower losses due to magnetic resistance and eddy currents.

Inductors are used in a variety of applications ranging from power supplies, DC-DC converters, filters, and oscillators to antennae and loudspeaker systems. They can be found in everything from home appliances to sophisticated communications equipment. Their ability to store energy makes them ideal for providing stable voltage and current sources for critical circuits. With the right design considerations, inductors can provide reliable performance for many years without requiring maintenance or replacement.

Capacitor vs Inductor

Capacitors and inductors are both electrical components used to store energy and to regulate current in circuits. While they both have similar purposes, there are some key differences between the two that make them uniquely suited for different applications.

The main difference between a capacitor and an inductor is that capacitors store energy in an electric field while inductors store energy in a magnetic field. When voltage is applied across a capacitor, charge quickly accumulates on its plates due to electrostatic attraction, creating an electric field between the plates. This electric field stores energy which can be released when the voltage is removed from the capacitor or reduced. On the other hand, when voltage is applied across an inductor, a current begins to flow through it. This produces a magnetic field which stores energy in its coils. This stored energy can be released when the current is reduced or removed.

Capacitors are often used to filter out high frequencies in AC circuits, while inductors are more commonly used to filter out low frequencies. Capacitors also have higher reactance than inductors at high frequencies, making them ideal for blocking signals with higher frequency components. Both components can also be combined in series or parallel arrangements to increase their overall capacitance or inductance, respectively. In addition, both components are used in various types of power supplies and signal processing circuits.

Overall, capacitors and inductors are both important electrical components that have unique properties that make them well-suited for different applications. They can be used in combination or separately, depending on the requirements of the circuit.


What is an inductor used for?

An inductor is a passive electronic component that stores energy in the form of a magnetic field. It is primarily used to either increase or decrease current in an electrical circuit, depending on the specific application. Inductors are commonly seen in power supplies, filters and oscillators but can also be found in various other applications such as in radio frequency identification (RFID) systems. Furthermore, they play an important role in creating impedance for high-frequency signals by creating an electromagnetic field that opposes changes to electric current. In addition, inductors can be used to create time delays in circuits by limiting the rate at which electricity can pass through them. They are often combined with capacitors or resistors to create tuned circuits that allow specific frequencies of electric current to pass through while blocking others.

What are the different types of inductors?

Inductors come in many shapes and sizes, and can be divided into two broad categories: ferromagnetic core and air-core. Ferromagnetic core inductors use magnetic materials such as iron, nickel or ferrite to store energy and provide a more efficient way for electricity to flow through them compared to air-core inductors. Air-core inductors rely on an arrangement of wire turns which create an electromagnetic field around them that stores electrical energy. They are simpler and cheaper than ferromagnetic core inductors but require larger dimensions due to their lower efficiency. Additionally, there are other types of inductors such as wound coil, toroidal, and shielded inductors.

What are the advantages of using an inductor?

The primary advantage of using an inductor is that it can help increase or decrease current in a circuit depending on its specific application. Other advantages include: providing impedance for high-frequency signals, creating time delays in circuits, reducing noise pollution, and helping to maintain a steady electrical current to ensure optimal performance of other components in the circuit. Additionally, they are relatively low cost compared to other electronic components and don’t require any external power sources. This makes them ideal for applications where cost and simplicity are important factors.

What is the difference between an inductor and a capacitor?

An inductor is an electric component that stores energy in a magnetic field generated when a current passes through it, while a capacitor stores energy in an electric field created by two conductive plates separated by an insulating material. Inductors have the ability to react against changes in the electrical current and create a voltage drop across its terminals, thus slowing down the rate of change of current flow. On the other hand, capacitors oppose any changes in voltage and can be used to block direct currents while allowing alternating currents to pass.

What is an inductor example?

A common example of an inductor is a coil of wire wound about an iron core. This type of component can be used in power supplies, radio circuits, and motors to form part of the electrical circuit. Other examples include chokes and transformers which use multiple coils of wire to regulate current levels or transfer energy from one circuit to another.

What are the uses of inductors?

Inductors are used for many different applications, such as filtering out high-frequency signals, providing voltage regulation in power supplies, and creating oscillator circuits for radio receivers. They are also commonly used for coupling between stages in audio amplifiers. Additionally, they can be used in conjunction with capacitors to create tuned circuits which control frequency responses.

Why is the inductor used in AC?

Inductors are used in AC circuits because they oppose changing currents by generating a voltage drop, enabling them to act as filters that block high-frequency signals while allowing the lower frequencies to pass. This is the basis for inductive reactance which is an important concept in understanding AC current behavior. When an AC signal passes through an inductor, it creates a back EMF which opposes its flow and restricts the frequency range of the waveform.

Why do circuits need inductors?

Inductors are a key component in many electrical circuits. They are used to control the rate of current change, store energy, filter out undesired frequency signals and create tuned oscillator circuits. Without these components, our lives would be very different as many modern technologies rely on inductors for their operation. Overall, inductors are an essential element in circuit design and provide numerous benefits for controlling AC signals and regulating current levels. They can be configured into various shapes and sizes which make them suitable for a range of applications.

Useful Video: What Is an Inductor?


An inductor is an important electrical component that serves a variety of practical purposes. It stores energy in its magnetic field and provides a pathway for current to flow in an electrical circuit. Although it can be found in many different shapes and sizes, all inductors have the same basic structure consisting of core material around which wire is wound. Through careful selection, it is possible to choose an inductor that meets the requirements of any electronic device or application. This makes the inductor one of the most versatile components available. With its simple design, this small but powerful device has become essential to modern electronics and technology.


  1. https://www.coilcraft.com/en-us/edu/series/what-is-an-inductor/
  2. https://www.power-and-beyond.com/understanding-the-role-of-inductors-in-power-electronics-a-dc947f2aa88d7ac3009791f798478d1c/
  3. https://resources.altium.com/p/methods-protect-your-circuit
  4. https://product.tdk.com/en/techlibrary/applicationnote/howto_power-inductors.html
  5. https://www.monolithicpower.com/understanding-power-inductor-parameters
  6. https://www.linquip.com/blog/useful-guide-to-different-types-of-inductors/