polarized capacitors

Tips for Choosing the Right Capacitor Type

Most beginners are not sure which type of capacitor to choose. In this post, we help you know how to find the right capacitor that suits your needs. The following are some of the top factors to consider.


capacitorYou should note that capacitors can be classified into two categories: polarized and non-polarized. The difference, in this case, is that a polarized capacitor has a negative and positive side. Thus, it must be placed with a positive pin where the positive voltage is. For a non-polarized capacitor, you can place it in any way you want. How can you tell whether you need a polarized capacitor or not? For a polarized type, you need something known as electrolytic. The main types include Tantalum and Aluminum.

Aluminum capacitors are the most common and they are the cheapest. They are designed to have through-hole components. However, you can also find surface mount versions also. You should choose these only if you have special requirements.

If you want a more durable and smaller capacitor, you should consider the tantalum type. The good thing about this type is that it can work in a wide range of temperatures. There are also tantalum caps that are non-polarized.

If you want a non-polarized capacitor, you should look for either a film or ceramic capacitor. Usually, ceramic caps are cheap and small. They are the ideal option for the non-polarized capacitors. In addition, they can be used as decoupling capacitors. You should choose a film capacitor is you have special requirements such as high reliability, low tolerance, or you want a capacitor that operates at high temperatures.

Other Capacitor Types

There are other types of capacitors you will find on the market. You will need them if you have certain special requirements.

Working Voltage

installed capacitorIt is advisable to use a capacitor with a high working voltage. This is of great importance when it comes to power supply circuits. Check whether the working voltage exceeds the peak working voltage of the circuit by at least 20%.


Certain circuits such as oscillators and timing may need a high precision capacitor. However, if the capacitor you use does not have the tolerance as stated in the parts list, then the circuit may not offer desired results.