Table of Contents

PTC Thermistors vs NTC Thermistors

Thermistors, a type of resistor whose resistance varies significantly with temperature, play a crucial role in modern electronics. When comparing PTC thermistors vs NTC thermistors, each type has unique properties and applications. Thermistors are essential components in a wide range of applications, from temperature sensing and control to circuit protection and beyond. Their ability to provide accurate and reliable temperature measurements makes them indispensable in many industries, including automotive, telecommunications, consumer electronics, and healthcare.

Understanding the differences between PTC thermistors and NTC thermistors is vital for selecting the right component for a given application. Each type of thermistor responds differently to temperature changes, offering unique advantages and being suitable for specific applications.

In this article, we will explore the characteristics, applications, and benefits of PTC and NTC thermistors, providing a clear guide to help you make informed decisions when integrating these components into your designs.

PTC Thermistors (Positive Temperature Coefficient)

PTC thermistors are a type of thermistor whose resistance increases with an increase in temperature. Made from polycrystalline ceramic materials, typically barium titanate, PTC thermistors exhibit a sudden and significant rise in resistance at a specific temperature threshold, known as the Curie point. This behavior makes them useful in various applications where temperature-sensitive resistance changes are needed.

How do PTC Thermistors Work?

PTC thermistors operate based on the principle that their resistance remains relatively low up to a certain temperature. Once the temperature exceeds this critical threshold (the Curie point), the resistance increases sharply. This sharp rise in resistance limits the current flow through the thermistor, effectively acting as a self-regulating element. Below the Curie point, the resistance remains stable and low, allowing normal current flow.

Common Applications of PTC Thermistors

Overcurrent Protection

PTC thermistors are used in circuits to protect against overcurrent conditions. When excessive current flows through the thermistor, it heats up, causing the resistance to increase and limiting the current, thereby protecting the circuit components from damage.

Heating Elements

PTC thermistors are used in self-regulating heating elements. As the temperature rises, the resistance increases, reducing the current flow and preventing overheating. This makes them ideal for use in applications like de-icing systems and heated seats.

Temperature Sensors

PTC thermistors are utilized as temperature sensors in various devices. Their predictable resistance change with temperature allows for accurate temperature measurement and control.

Motor Protection

PTC thermistors are used to protect electric motors from overheating. If the motor temperature rises too high, the PTC thermistor increases in resistance, reducing the current and preventing damage to the motor.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PTC Thermistors


  • Self-Regulating: The sharp increase in resistance at the Curie point allows for self-regulation in heating and overcurrent protection applications.
  • Durability: PTC thermistors are robust and can withstand repeated temperature cycles without significant degradation.
  • Safety: They provide reliable protection against overheating and overcurrent conditions, enhancing the safety of electronic circuits and devices.


  • Slow Response Time: PTC thermistors typically have a slower response time compared to other temperature sensors, which may be a limitation in applications requiring rapid temperature changes.
  • Limited Temperature Range: The operating temperature range of PTC thermistors is generally limited compared to other types of temperature sensors.
  • Non-linear Resistance Change: The non-linear resistance change can complicate the design and calibration of circuits that require precise temperature control or measurement.

NTC Thermistors (Negative Temperature Coefficient)

NTC thermistors are a type of thermistor whose resistance decreases as the temperature increases. They are typically made from ceramic materials such as oxides of nickel, manganese, and cobalt. NTC thermistors exhibit a continuous and predictable decrease in resistance with rising temperature, making them highly effective for precise temperature measurement and control applications.

How do NTC Thermistors Work?

NTC thermistors operate based on the principle that the resistance of certain materials decreases as their temperature increases. At lower temperatures, the thermistor’s resistance is high, but as the temperature rises, the resistance drops significantly. This inverse relationship between temperature and resistance allows NTC thermistors to accurately measure and respond to temperature changes.

Common Applications of NTC Thermistors

Temperature Measurement and Control

NTC thermistors are widely used in temperature sensors for applications such as digital thermometers, automotive temperature sensors, and home appliances. Their precise resistance change with temperature allows for accurate temperature monitoring and control.

Inrush Current Limiting

NTC thermistors are used to limit inrush current in power supply circuits. When a device is first turned on, the NTC thermistor’s high initial resistance limits the initial surge of current. As the thermistor heats up, its resistance decreases, allowing normal current flow and protecting the circuit components from potential damage.

Battery Pack Protection

NTC thermistors are employed in battery management systems to monitor and control the temperature of battery packs. By ensuring the batteries operate within safe temperature ranges, NTC thermistors help prevent overheating and extend battery life.

Tritek's battery pack use Surface-Mount Thermistors
Tritek’s battery packs use Surface-Mount Thermistors

HVAC Systems

NTC thermistors are used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to monitor and control the temperature of the environment. They provide accurate temperature readings that help maintain optimal climate conditions in residential and commercial spaces.

Advantages and Disadvantages of NTC Thermistors


  • High Sensitivity: NTC thermistors offer a high degree of sensitivity to temperature changes, allowing for precise temperature measurement and control.
  • Wide Temperature Range: They can operate over a broad temperature range, making them suitable for various applications.

  • Fast Response Time: NTC thermistors typically have a fast response time, enabling them to quickly react to temperature changes.


  • Non-linear Resistance Change: The non-linear relationship between temperature and resistance can complicate the design and calibration of measurement circuits.
  • Self-Heating Effects: When used in high-current applications, NTC thermistors can self-heat, potentially affecting their accuracy and performance.
  • Limited Durability at High Temperatures: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can degrade the materials used in NTC thermistors, reducing their lifespan and reliability.

Key Differences Between PTC and NTC Thermistors

Resistance-Temperature Characteristics

  • PTC Thermistors: Resistance increases sharply at a specific temperature threshold.
  • NTC Thermistors: Resistance decreases smoothly and continuously as temperature rises.

Typical Applications

  • PTC Thermistors: Overcurrent protection, heating elements, motor protection, temperature sensors.
  • NTC Thermistors: Temperature measurement and control, inrush current limiting, battery pack protection, HVAC systems.

Response Time and Stability

  • PTC Thermistors: Slower response time, good stability over repeated cycles.
  • NTC Thermistors: Fast response time, can self-heat, stable over a wide range but can degrade at high temperatures.

Cost and Availability

  • PTC Thermistors: Generally more expensive, availability varies with specific needs.
  • NTC Thermistors: More cost-effective, widely available in various types and specifications.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between PTC and NTC Thermistors

  1. Application Requirements
    • Temperature Range: Determine the operating temperature range of your application. NTC thermistors are suitable for applications requiring precise measurement over a wide range, while PTC thermistors are ideal for applications needing a sudden resistance change at a specific threshold.
    • Accuracy: Consider the accuracy required. NTC thermistors offer high sensitivity and accuracy for temperature measurement, whereas PTC thermistors are more suitable for on/off control functions.
  2. Environmental ConditionsAssess the environmental conditions such as humidity, vibration, and potential contaminants. Ensure the chosen thermistor can withstand these conditions without degradation.
  3. Power Handling RequirementsEvaluate the power levels your application involves. PTC thermistors are well-suited for high-current applications like overcurrent protection, whereas NTC thermistors are better for low-power applications like temperature sensing.
  4. Size and Packaging ConstraintsConsider the physical size and packaging requirements of the thermistor. Ensure it fits within the design constraints of your device or system.

Examples of Specific Use Cases and Suitable Types of Thermistor

Overcurrent Protection in Power Supplies

  • Suitable Thermistor: PTC thermistor
  • Reason: The sharp increase in resistance at high temperatures effectively limits excessive current, protecting the circuit components.

Digital Thermometers and Temperature Sensors

  • Suitable Thermistor: NTC thermistor
  • Reason: The smooth decrease in resistance with temperature changes allows for accurate and continuous temperature monitoring.

Battery Pack Temperature Management

  • Suitable Thermistor: NTC thermistor
  • Reason: Precise temperature control helps prevent overheating and prolongs battery life.

Heated Seats and De-Icing Systems

  • Suitable Thermistor: PTC thermistor
  • Reason: The self-regulating properties of PTC thermistors prevent overheating by limiting current flow as the temperature rises.

Inrush Current Limiting in Power Circuits:

  • Suitable Thermistor: NTC thermistor
  • Reason: High initial resistance limits the initial surge of current, protecting the components, then decreases to allow normal operation.

Recent Advances in Thermistor Technology

Innovations in Materials and Manufacturing

  • Advanced Ceramics: New materials improve temperature stability and reliability.
  • Nanotechnology: Enhances sensitivity and accuracy.
  • Automated Production: Increases consistency and quality.

Improved Performance Characteristics

  • Higher Accuracy: More reliable temperature measurements.
  • Faster Response Times: Quicker reaction to temperature changes.
  • Extended Temperature Range: Suitable for extreme environments.

Integration with Modern Electronics:

  • Smart Devices: Advanced temperature monitoring in wearables and home automation.
  • IoT: Real-time temperature data for predictive maintenance and energy management.
  • Miniaturization: Fits into smaller devices without losing performance.


Understanding the differences between PTC and NTC thermistors is crucial for selecting the right component for your specific application. PTC thermistors, with their sharp increase in resistance at a threshold temperature, are ideal for overcurrent protection, heating elements, and motor protection. In contrast, NTC thermistors, which decrease in resistance as temperature rises, excel in precise temperature measurement, inrush current limiting, and battery pack protection.

Recent advances in thermistor technology, including improved materials, faster response times, and integration with modern electronics, have broadened their applicability and enhanced their performance. Whether you need precise temperature control, reliable overcurrent protection, or integration into smart devices and IoT systems, there is a thermistor type that fits your needs.

By carefully considering application requirements, environmental conditions, power handling needs, and size constraints, you can choose the most suitable thermistor to ensure optimal performance and reliability in your electronic designs.


How do thermistor function as a temperature sensor?

Thermistors measure temperature by changing their resistance in response to temperature variations, making them effective for temperature sensing.

Why are thermistors preferred as temperature dependent resistors?

Thermistors are reliable and accurate, making them ideal temperature dependent resistors for various electronic applications.

Inquiry Form

Tritek is your ODM partner for lev battery, and we pay close attention to your requirements.

Picture of Bluen Lee

Bluen Lee

Hello, I'm Bluen, I have over 25 years in the battery industry.
Throughout my career, I've developed a deep understanding of the battery market and kept up with the latest trends in R&D.
I'm excited to share my insights and knowledge with you through my blog.


Inquiry Form

Tritek is your ODM partner for lev battery, and we pay close attention to your requirements.

* required

Customized exclusive battery

Shenzhen Tritek Limited is the most professional lev battery manufacturer in China. working with the world-leading companies for intelligent lev and electric drive systems.

Inquiry Form

Tritek is your ODM partner for lev battery, and we pay close attention to your requirements.

* required

Tritek aim to be the world leading supplier of the lev battery

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news and product updates straight to your inbox