Rheostat vs Potentiometer-difference between Rheostat and Potentiometer

This page compares Rheostat vs Potentiometer and mentions difference between Rheostat and Potentiometer.

Rheostats and potentiometers are devices which vary resistances in order to change amount of current or voltage in the circuit.


• The device Rheostat has two terminals.
• They can be connected in series with the load and voltage source.
• The figure depicts rheostat.
• As shown it varies the current.
• Resistance increases when wiper is moved up and decreases on the other side.
• The Rheostat must have wattage rating high enough for maximum I when R is minimum.

Rheostat vs Potentiometer


• It has three terminals.
• The ends of potentiometer are connected across the voltage source.
• The third variable arm as shown is used to tap the part of the voltage.
• The applied voltage V is input to the two end terminals of the potentiometer.
• The variable V is output between variable arm and end terminal.
• The potentiometer may be used as rheostat by simply using wiper terminal and one of the other terminals. The third terminal is left unconnected and unused.

Sensors and Transducers Related Links

Proximity Sensor   Occupancy Sensor vs Motion Sensor   LVDT and RVDT sensor   Position, displacement and level sensor   force sensor and strain sensor   temperature sensor   pressure sensor   Humidity sensor   MEMS sensor   Touch sensor   Haptic sensor   Wireless sensor  


Variable capacitor   Variable resistor   Transformer basics and types   Ohm law   BJT vs FET   Diac vs Triac   JUGFET vs MOSFET   Analog vs Digital Multimeter   LED vs Laser   Microphone basics and types  Resistor basics   Electrolytic capacitor   Capacitor basics   Inductor basics   Transducer  Thermistor   Relay  Reed Switch   Photo Diode vs Photo Transistor  Battery   SCR or thyristor   Op-Amp   Halfwave rectifier vs Fullwave rectifier

What is Difference between

difference between FDM and OFDM
Difference between SC-FDMA and OFDM
Difference between SISO and MIMO
Difference between TDD and FDD
Difference between 802.11 standards viz.11-a,11-b,11-g and 11-n

RF and Wireless Terminologies