Difference between RTD and Thermocouple

Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTD) and Thermocouples are the most common sensor types used to measure temperatures. These are preferred over the others for measurements because they avoid the tedious process of conversion and get the measurements with ease. The main difference between RTD and thermocouples is their operating principle and manufacture. Given below in a tabular column are the differences between RTD and Thermocouple.

Table of Contents

RTD vs Thermocouple

RTD Thermocouple
RTD is more suited to measure lower ranges of temperature. The measuring range of an RTD lies between -200°C to 500 °C. A thermocouple can measure a larger range of temperatures. The measuring range lies between −180 °C to 2,320 °C.
RTD exhibits very good stability with low amounts of shifts Thermocouples have poor stability with results less repeatable over time.
RTD is more accurate than a thermocouple. Thermocouples have poor accuracy.
RTD is very sensitive and can register small changes in temperature. Thermocouples have poor sensitivity, which means that a small change in temperature is not recognised by it.
RTD has a good response time. The reaction time of a thermocouple is faster than that of an RTD.
The output presented by an RTD is linear. The output of a thermocouple is non-linear.
RTDs are more expensive than thermocouples. A thermocouple is cheaper than an RTD.

The above given are the differences between RTD and thermocouple. From the differences, we can conclude that RTD provides a more reliable output than a thermocouple. At BYJU’S, learn more differences such as the difference between diode and rectifier.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Q1

What is temperature?

Temperature is a measure of the mean kinetic energy of molecules or atoms in a body.
Q2

What are the two common types of sensors used to calculate temperature?

The most popular sensor types for measuring temperature are thermocouples and resistance temperature detectors.
Q3

What is the full form of RTD?

Resistance Temperature Detectors.
Q4

What distinguishes a resistance temperature detector from a thermocouple?

A thermocouple can measure a larger range of temperatures. The measuring range lies between −180 °C to 2,320 °C. On the other hand, RTD is more suited to measure lower ranges of temperature. The measuring range of an RTD lies between -200°C to 500 °C.
Q5

What kind of precision can you expect from resistance temperature detectors and thermocouples?

Thermocouples have poor accuracy, while RTD is more accurate than a thermocouple.
Test your knowledge on RTD and thermocouple differences

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