Resistive vs. Capacitive Touchscreens

Resistive vs Capcitive TouchscreensTouchscreens have been a part of everyday life for a number of years. The advent of the iPhone and the surge in use of mobile technologies has led to touchscreens becoming commonplace in almost all walks of life.

Devices such as the Apple iPhone and iPad utilise capacitive touchscreen technology. These screens are operated using inputs from the user’s finger and support applications that require multi touch, such as the pinch to zoom functionality common on most Smartphones.

The bezel free design of these devices gives them a modern look which has been emulated across a number of touchscreen products including EPoS terminals.

Capacitive touchscreens are used on these devices to identify minor changes in the electric field of the screen when they come into contact with the human body to determine the exact location of the users touch.

For EPoS systems, terminals have traditionally utilised resistive touchscreen technology to allow the user to interact with the on-screen display. These type of touchscreens consist of two layers, covered by a film of flexible plastic, that are pushed together to form a point of contact when pressed upon by a finger or stylus. The user may notice a slight indent into the surface of the touchscreen when pressed and these systems can be operated by any object e.g. gloved finger, stylus or fingernail.

EPoS terminals are now available in both resistive and capacitive touchscreen models, each with their own advantages and drawbacks.

Resistive Touchscreen
Resistive touchscreens are still the most widely used solution for EPoS terminals and are highly resistant to dust and water. They are best used with a finger, gloved finger or stylus and work well when used for handwriting recognition. Resistive touchscreens also have a relatively low production cost, however due to the nature of the technology they can only support single touch applications.


Capacitive touchscreens are covered by a layer of glass, ensuring they are more scratch resistant as well as boasting a brighter display and a sleeker look and feel. These screens can be easily wiped clean, however the accuracy of the touch recognition can be hampered by moisture on the screen. Multi-touch applications are supported by capacitive touchscreens and they require a far lighter touch than resistive touchscreens.

Capacitive TouchscreenDue to the conductive nature of the human body, capacitive touchscreens will not work when operated by a gloved finger however specialised compatible styli and gloves are available.

When deciding upon which touchscreen option will be best suited to a particular environment, it is important to consider the surroundings and the nature of the business that the touchscreen will be serving. For instance, a busy catering outlet may wish to utilise a resistive touch model as these terminals will continue to work unaffected when splashed with liquids or covered in condensation.

An elegantly decorated retail store may find that the look and feel of a capacitive touchscreen terminal is more in keeping with the overall style of the premises, and continues the customer’s high end purchasing experience through to the completion of their transaction.

For more information about resistive and capacitive touchscreen EPoS Terminals, or to discuss your EPoS requirements, call the Varlink sales team on 01904 717180 or visit


We are a specialist, value added distributor of mobile computing and data capture products. Underpinning all that we do is an understanding that our customers deserve outstandingly executed basic distribution services.

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Posted in Retail

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