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5 Minutes to Help You Tell the Difference Between a Transformer and an Inductor.

Author: CC

Oct. 15, 2022

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Tags: Electrical Equipment & Supplies

Transformers and inductors are two important devices used in electronics. A misconception exists that they are identical because they look similar in structure and appearance. However, one differs from the other in terms of application, design and construction elements. This article aims to familiarise you with some of the significant differences between these two magnetic components.


Differences between transformers and inductors

The following points will help you to understand the significant differences between the two and thus help you to make an informed purchasing decision.


1. Transformer

◆Transformers are designed with two insulated wire coils which are wound around a ferrite, iron or steel laminated core.


◆The main function of a transformer consists of converting high voltage alternating current into low voltage alternating current and vice versa.


◆Transformers have a primary coil and a secondary coil. When the primary coil is connected to an AC supply, a constantly changing magnetic field is generated around the ferrite/iron/steel core. AC current is therefore generated in the secondary coil. The secondary coil provides the output when connected to a separate circuit.


◆The main types of transformers include step-up, step-down, autotransformers, power transformers and toroidal iron core transformers.


◆These devices are widely used for power conversion in LED lighting, commercial and medical applications, as well as high voltage (HV) and electrostatic spray applications.


High Frequency Transformer

2. Inductors.

◆Inductors are passive electrical components. They are also known as coils or chokes. Inductors consist of insulated enamelled wire wound into coils.


◆The main applications include providing a specific amount of inductance in a circuit.


◆When current flows through the coil, energy is temporarily stored in the magnetic field inside the coil (core materials are iron, ferrite, iron powder, amorphous and other high reluctance materials) The conductors can be insulated enamelled wire, strips of copper foil or high reluctance materials. (The voltage insulated leads depend on the application). According to Faraday's Law, when the current through a coil changes, a voltage is generated.


◆ The main types of inductors include hollow core, powdered iron core, ferrite core and choke inductors.


Common Mode Inductor

Although they look similar, transformers and inductors have different uses in electronic applications. Talk to your custom transformer manufacturer to gain a more technical understanding of the key differences. The manufacturer can help you learn more, which in turn helps to explain your requirements to the manufacturer.


SITONG is one of the leading manufacturers of custom transformers, inductors and other special magnetic components. You are also free to ask your questions to the Custom Coils team. The company offers the widest range of magnetic components, all custom designed and manufactured to meet your specifications.