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What are the Two Types of Touch Screen?


When you first start to look into touch screens, you’re probably thinking, ‘It has a screen, and I can interact with it through touch. It’s a touch screen!’ 

For most users, there’s no need to put more thought into it. Many consumers will buy a touch screen device simply because it’s beautiful and functional, without considering different touch screen types.

Business owners, however, should know a little more before investing in touch screen technology. After all—you don’t want to splurge on an enormous new touch screen display for your shop front, only to find out it doesn’t offer the functions your business needs.

You may have noticed that some touch screens work with a finger, stylus, or any other vaguely finger-shaped input device you can think of—while other screens won’t accept input at all unless you use your finger (and make sure it’s not wet!).

Different devices accept different kinds of input because there are several kinds of touch screen, each with unique limitations. The two main types of touch screen are capacitive touch screens and resistive touch screens.

This article will discuss the differences between the two types and highlight how businesses might use them.

Resistive touch screens

Resistive touch screens are the simplest type of touch screen available on the market today. A resistive screen comprises two pliable plastic sheets separated by a narrow gap. When a user interacts with the screen and presses in on the top sheet, it closes the gap, causing the two sheets to come into contact. This interaction completes the electrical circuit.

Resistive touch screens are pressure sensitive—this means that the pressure you place upon the screen will determine whether or not it detects your input. Some screens are more sensitive than others. While one screen may not register a quick swipe across the screen, others may react to even the slightest touch.

Because resistive touch screens react to physical input, it doesn’t matter whether you use a finger, stylus, pencil, or another blunt-ended object. You’ll find resistive touch screens used for shopping centre kiosk displays, ATMs, and handheld video game devices.

Capacitive touch screens

The other primary type of touch screen is the capacitive touch screen. Rather than detecting pressure, these screens work because of the human body’s electrical properties. When your finger comes into contact with the device, it changes the screens’ electrostatic field. 

Because capacitive touch screens rely on conductivity, interacting with them via a gloved hand, pencil, or basic stylus won’t work. It’s also why you might notice inconsistencies when using your smartphone or tablet with slightly wet hands.

Capacitive touch screens feature a durable glass surface, making them better options for businesses that favour longevity. If you are installing interactive digital screens outdoors, a capacitive screen is the better choice.


The two main types of touch screen are resistive and capacitive. Resistive screens are the more versatile choice, while capacitive screens boast greater durability. The kind of screen you choose will depend on your business’s unique needs and priorities.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Ross Mayfield